Event organizers said two pilots on two separate planes plan to parachute into each other’s planes, leaving each drone for less than a minute. But one of the pilots did not manage to get to the other plane. The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane “crashed out of control” and its potential pilot landed “peacefully by parachute.”
Both pilots survived the botched pilot exchange, which involved two single-engine Cessna 182 aircraft, which flew at 14,000 feet, then crashed into close form.
Organizers asked the FAA for special permission to hold the event, which was sponsored by energy drink company Red Bull and broadcast on streaming service Hulu.
They outlined a number of safety precautions including running drills with “Safety Pilots”; holding the event in a remote part of the desert; Equip both aircraft and pilots with parachutes in case of an accident.
“At this point, we have conducted more than 100 vertical dive test flights with no safety issues,” the regulators wrote in an application to the FAA in February.
On Friday, the FAA denied a request to leave planes empty during the televised flight, stating that the team “can continue to perform this demonstration in accordance with FAA regulations by including an additional pilot for each aircraft.”
Red Bull and Hulu representatives immediately responded to CNN’s request for comment. On Monday, emails to pilot Luke Aikins – also a world-renowned skydiver – and a professor at California Polytechnic State University who regulators said they had consulted, were not immediately answered.
The video of the three-hour show that featured the event was not available on Hulu’s website on Monday morning.
The event featured Aikins and his cousin Andy Farrington, both pilots and stuntmen whose resumes have clocked thousands of flying hours. Organizers said the pilots planned to recover the planes before they reached 4,000 feet.
Aikins’ notoriety includes a successful jump from 25,000 feet without a parachute. A veteran of about 21,000 jumps, Aikins worked as a stuntman and consultant on blockbuster Hollywood films and trained US Navy corps.
The FAA did not say what kind of punishment those involved could face.
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